Drumroll please….I am extremely excited to share with you the King and Queen (winners) of Quantum CrossFit’s GET REAL Challenge!  This year we had almost 40 competitors (our largest group to date!) and I was SO IMPRESSED by EVERYONE’s efforts and results.  It was extremely difficult for us to pick 1 female and 1 male winner because there were so many dramatic changes.  It literally came down to a photo finish to choose the winners.  I am always amazed at everyone’s dedication, commitment and group support, but this year in particular was extra stellar.  You all proved that with solid training (thanks to Quantum CrossFit) and nutrition (thanks to Haute Life…me:)) you can see dramatic changes in your health, performance and body composition in 5 short weeks.   It was a tough decision, but alas we can only have 1 King and 1 Queen.  READY?!?!  Here we go…

The KING of the GET REAL Challenge is Jason!!  Jason is a downtown corporate man who has been a member of the gym for 2 years – he took this opportunity to get his nutrition in check in order to improve his performance and get geared up for a future triathalon….in addition to bringing his abs to the forefront.  He committed to the challenge with gusto and the results are a testament to this commitment.   Dropping 11% of his body weight, he lost the equivalent of at least 1 kettlebell.  Check out Jason’s before picture here:

I am not cruel...Jason gave me this pic to use!

Here is Jason’s actual Before/After pics:

The QUEEN of the GET REAL Challenge is Mary Anne!!  Mary Anne attacked this challenge like Dr. Oz at a whole grain buffet table.  She was a HUGE contributor to the GET REAL forum and provided so much support and encouragement to her fellow GET REAL’ers.  Her commitment paid off as she lost 6% of her body weight and dropped a whole lot of inches.  Check out Mary Anne’s transformation here:

Thank you to both the King and Queen for allowing me to use their pics.  I know they will inspire others to GET REAL!

I asked the winners to answer a few questions about the challenge….

What has the challenge done for you?

J: Attempting not to state the obvious but this challenge really reinforced the value of good solid nutrition forming the base of anything else I want to accomplish in life.  From a physical perspective, I hit a bunch of PR’s –Getting my first ever HSPU (handstand push-up) was a proud moment. So proud I had to show coach KC a second time! Hitting a 205# “Jerk” PR was a nice surprise and 75 consecutive double unders  was another. Generally speaking, I just felt like my frame was thanking me for showing it a little love! In the end, the progress in performance I’ve always wanted in the gym was being held back by my lack of focus on proper nutrition. This competition opened my eyes to that and I’d encourage anyone who missed out to pick the brains of the coaches between now and the next challenge.  I mainly harassed you (Summer) and Pete but Leah, Tyler, and KC are no wallflowers either! I was no different from most coming into CFQ in mid-2010. Couldn’t do a pullup without a green band, didn’t know what paleo was, or what kipping meant. I’ve learned a ton along the way and put it all to work in this challenge . There was really nothing to lose and everything to gain by committing to this.

M: Apart from making me feel better than I ever have, it was really rewarding to commit to something and see all my hard work pay off. Resetting what I ate has given me a new consciousness of my appetite and ‘real’ hunger, and helped me separate that from more emotional eating.

Outside of your waistline, where else did you see positive changes?

J: My productivity and energy in general seemed to increase and/or stabilize. Not having to endure the morning zombi-like feeling or the 2pm energy crash was a win worth mentioning. I should note that I’m not a coffee drinker, and never have been, but I’ve always felt like caffeine shouldn’t be the answer to my energy issues.  My number one goal was to improve my sleep and although I still have my battles as someone with sleep apnea, it’s definitely progressed through this challenge.

M: My energy is up, I’m in a good mood, I feel like it’s helped me be better in every aspect of my life – at work, in the gym, with my friends and family. When you feel good, it’s contagious. I feel more positive and capable all around!  Digestive wise – I used to get “random” stomach aches for “no apparent reason” and I couldn’t figure it out… well guess what, now I know why, and it hasn’t been an issue whatsoever when eating this way. And that’s pretty great.

Did you find it easy to stick to for 5 weeks?

J: I wouldn’t call it easy, but doing this with a group of people definitely made it easier without question. I think in the past when I’ve tried to do something like this, I’ve lost the will or want or inspiration to keep going and keep cooking, and justified a bad choice (aka a trip to the drive through) with some excuse (I’m just too busy, it’s only one meal, most of it’s good for me). This time I just kept telling myself “you only eat what you kill” aka eat what you cook and that’s it. Once things got rolling about a week or so into it, it became routine and in many cases was faster than hitting up Subway or Tim Horton’s because I already had food with me.

M: It was tough at first, getting the hang of really planning things out, and with some events I had to attend. But I got the hang of it and now it feels more like 2nd nature… I don’t have to think about what would make a ‘paleo’ breakfast/meal/snack… it’s just how I eat now. And the more positive feedback I got, the easier it became because I wouldn’t want to go back to feeling crappy again. I may have had a few sweet treats after the challenge was over, but unfortunately (or not?) now I know I feel better without them

What are your goals now that the challenge is over?

J: Keeping my a$$ on the wagon would be at the top of list! I still want to see my 6th ab (oh the vanity!) and until I do, I’ll just stick with it but maybe in more of a 90/10 fashion like you (Summer) alluded to.  I’ve also set my sights on a 2nd shot @ a sprint triathlon in milton on June3rd. I did my first and only triathlon there in 2010 after one month of crossfit at CFQ, so we’ll see how far I’ve come barring any injury flare ups.

M: Get super strong! And keep on keeping it real 🙂

Any plans on how you’re going to spend the prize $?  Perhaps some new pants?

J: I choose meat and some sunshine (future vacay) over oreos…I’d consider that progress!

M: A couple of new dresses… maybe some new kitchen gadgets (I have my eye on that veggie spiral maker!) But mostly I’m putitng it back into CFQ so that I can keep this great experience going.

Congrats to you both…you both did AMAZING!  (And you made me proud….tear)

Until next time, keep it REAL!

Barbie in a straight jacket...it only seemed appropriate.

I’m alive!!!

It’s been so long since my last post and I am long overdue.  I knew it was time to get crackin when my parents finally noticed my last post about my farting confessions.  I had forgotten that this was the post welcoming people to my blog for the past 2 months.  I recently learned that my father had been passing along my website to some of his colleagues to encourage them to seek my advice for health and wellness.  Awesome.

After I fell behind from blogging for a few weeks, it somehow became increasingly more difficult to write. I started to over-analyze my own thoughts instead of just letting them spill out of my brain like I used to. I fell into a horrible habit of not writing because I felt my thoughts (which turn into blog posts) weren’t perfect.

I have recently started a class in school called “The Psychology of Disease” which is all about the mind-body connection. Our first assignment is to write a paper on our addictions. Addictions? ? Aside from my addictions to pastured bacon, CrossFit, anything coconut, coffee, Hawaii, Lululemon and 90210, I’m totally addiction free! I say no to crack! This was my initial thought until I started to read the survey and reading that came along with our assignment. In the reading, it outlined various addictions including “Addiction to Success”, “Addiction to Appearance”, “Addiction to Perfection” and MANY more. As I started to read the corresponding descriptions I realized that I could put a check mark beside many of them. It was the “Addiction to Perfection” that resonated so much with me….I realized this was what was stopping me from doing so many things, including updating this blog. I also realized that it was half the reason why I beat myself up so much for different things (the other half reason falls into the other addictions).

I did not want to post anything unless it was PERFECT. The pictures for my recipes aren’t perfect (aka: they look like they were taken with a disposable camera) so I haven’t posted a recipe. I’m still holding back from launching my Haute Life website because it is not perfect. I’m holding off on getting professional shots taken because I feel like I don’t look perfect enough yet. And the list goes on….I never realized how shackled I was to this notion of perfection. I knew I was a “Perfectionist”, but I didn’t realize it was an addiction that prevented me from getting down to biz-ness. I have also come to realize that this addiction to perfection can also be the result of a fear of failure.

What is perfection anyways? Sure it makes sense if you’re taking a test or getting marked on something….or if you’re a heart surgeon or physicist. Perfection matters in these circumstances. But what is perfection outside of these circumstances? When I started to think about it, I realized it is simply a fantasy or made-up ideal that we envision in our heads. If the benchmark for your own idea of perfection is in your own head, then why does it even matter?? If there is no concrete measurement of perfection in the task you are doing, then you will never achieve your desired result of perfection. It is this vicious cycle that can hold you back from doing so many things.

When it comes to nutrition and lifestyle, perfection can hold you back. I have seen many people hold back on making changes because everything in their life isn’t perfect…ie: I’m not going to eat clean because it’s Christmas and I can’t be perfect so I might as well just crack out on bad food for the entire 2 weeks. Or at the gym when I see people not wanting to try something because they might not be the strongest or fastest.  It is these types of excuses that indicate an addiction to perfection and a fear of failure.

I have seen this addiction to perfection lead to body image issues and unhappiness. When I meet people (usually women) who have solid bodies yet they complain about their 1 inch of cellulite because they are NOT PERFECT. What the hell is perfect when it comes to body image anyways?? It doesn’t exist…it is a made up ideal in your head that you will never achieve. (I could go on but that’s a whole other post).

Well, screw this!

I am vowing to release myself of my addiction to perfection. I will not let it hold me back from achieving the things I want to achieve anymore. Awareness of this addiction is the first step to getting over it, so I’ve passed phase 1.

It is time that we all break our addiction to perfection.  Start being happy with your best effort and don’t  over-analyze the situation.  Be proud if you get a B- instead of an A+.  You are the only one judging yourself in the end because no one else holds your idea of perfection except for you.

And for the record, I wrote this post in 20 minutes, so “Brittany’s back bitches!*”

*this is in reference to Brittany’s comeback performance at the MTV awards a couple years ago….I realize she actually said “It’s Brittany Bitch,” but this other version sounded so much better with this post.

BFF's!!

If you have read this blog before, then you know I love a reason to write Oprah into a blog post (see here and here and here).  I had really hoped for 1 last Oprah post before her farewell season ended a couple of weeks ago.  I even PVR’d her final episode on dieting and anxiously watched with the hopes of finding something to rip apart in a blog post.  Alas, her final episode on diets gave me nothing to work with as it only featured people’s transformations – I have to admit it was kind of a good episode.  Oprah, you may not have given me one more opportunity to blog about you, but at least I still have your protégé Dr. Oz.  He did a show 2 weeks ago titled, “Are Carbs the new cocaine?” which was the exact title of a Details magazine article published a few months ago and featured the same pieces of info.  Well Dr. Oz, you did not disappoint…here goes my rant…

I could sum this up by saying that Dr. Oz’s prescription for beating carb cravings is the equivalent to giving methadone to a heroin addict.  Or giving “non-alcoholic” beer to an alcoholic.  Seriously, I could end this post right now.  But I’m just getting started, so let’s continue….

The show featured women (obviously) who are addicted to various things like pasta, bread and fries – he featured each of them and they all said that they could not stop eating these foods and it was controlling their life.  To me this sounds like a serious problem which would require a major dietary transformation and help to address the emotional cause of their eating behaviour.  Apparently it doesn’t need to be that complicated because Dr. Oz’s “28 DAY PLAN!!” for kicking your carb cravings was here to save the day!  I was hoping for some recommendations that actually take into consideration your body’s biology and mechanisms for controlling hunger and cravings such as insulin and leptin.  Alas, I was wrong.  Dr. Oz’s prescription for kicking your carb cravings was to switch to UNLIMITED (I repeat UNLIMITED) “Good Carbs” like whole wheat pasta and brown rice.  He might as well have given each of the women heroin to at least get them to zone out into a happy place at meal time.

There are so many things wrong with this recommendation, but I will only focus on 3:

1. Would you give non-alcoholic beer to an alcoholic?  Of course not!  So why would it make any sense to give a carb addict something that basically tastes exactly the same and has the same composition as regular carbs.  The cascade of events that occur from consuming these foods would be slightly different in that they would not increase your blood glucose levels as quickly (though still much faster than say, asparagus), however they still contain the opiod triggering components (ie: gluten) that stimulates the same portion of your brain as cocaine.  I highly doubt this protocol is going to do anything other than make them swap one addiction for a higher fibre alternative.  Personally, when I switched to “Good Carbs” (back in my low-fat days of my early 20’s pre-Crossfit) I used to inhale them just as easily as “Bad Carbs.”  It makes so much more sense to give someone something completely different…like how about vegetables and good fats?  Cracking out on broccoli and salmon would be pretty impossible and even if someone succeeded in doing so the ramifications would likely be more positive than negative (Oh no, you OD’d on calcium!!).

2. Where is the AA support? Where is Dr Drew?  There was very little mention of how these people are obviously feeding themselves for emotional reasons.  I highly doubt that shoving some whole wheat pasta in their mouths is going to help them get over the root cause of their overeating issues.  It is no wonder we’ll probably see these people fatter and less happy in a year despite having completed Dr. Oz’s miracle 28-day plan.  When you’ve got issues with food, you need to address the root cause of these issues.  This compounded with the opiod effects I mentioned earlier is just a recipe for disaster.  Even if you are eating 100% Paleo/Primal, you can still overdo it and eat for the wrong reasons.   I’ll give Dr. Oz credit for briefly mentioning Overeaters Anonymous, but I think that he could have emphasized this piece more.

3.  Hypoglycemia is cool!  It is a known fact (even in conventional nutrition) that Protein and Fat are more satiating and take longer to digest than Carbohydrates.  So why in the world would you not increase these types of foods to help offset the blood sugar highs and lows that these people have been suffering from?   I guarantee that these people are still going to be suffering from blood sugar highs and lows under the 28 day-plan.  Again, back in the day when I inhaled whole grains I used to get hot flashes and dizzy spells at 10:30am after my 8am steel cut oatmeal.  This would always lead to me reach for something equally as carb-a-rific to hold me over to lunch.  It is no wonder my thighs looked like corn flakes through a garbage bag.   Seriously, if one of the main problems is blood sugar regulation, then it would not take a rocket scientist to figure out that addressing this issue is paramount.  Even if you needed to keep eating some “Good Carbs,” wouldn’t you want to try to limit the quantities that people are eating in favour of more nutrient-dense and satisfying foods that help to regulate blood sugar?

Not to mention the gut irritating properties of these foods, which Dr. Oz would never acknowledge because it could ruin his behemoth sponsorship deals with the Kellogg’s and Pepsi’s of the world.  Not to mention the fact that his website is plastered with Weight Watchers advertisements and recipes.  Not to mention the fact that his audience obviously doesn’t look like the fittest group of people despite being die-hard fans and likely eating their oatmeal every day.  Not to mention the fact that Dr. Oz’s colon polyp is an indication of hyperinsulinemia.

There, I got that out of my system.  Thank you Oprah for leaving me with a new legacy in the health world to bash.  I’m sure the OWN network is also stocked full of amazing advisors….I’ll have to start tuning into that one too.

I know I’ve been quiet with posts and especially recipes lately….this is because I have been working hard on bringing my dream to life.  I am thrilled to announce the official launch of Haute Life nutrition coaching!!  I am channeling my nutrition smarts and CPG sassiness to help people achieve their goals.  Want to know more? Don’t know what Haute means?

You can read my full story here.

And you can find my services here.

Big thanks to Crossfit Quantum for partnering with me on this journey!

Don’t worry, Cosmopolitan Primal Girl is not going anywhere! This blog is so important to me and I will continue to bring you advice and recipes….now with a Haute touch.

 

i should've worn heels....i look like a gymnast next to Dallas & Melissa

 

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Whole9 workshop AND their first Trainer workshop at Crossfit Colosseum in Toronto this weekend.  I had been a fan of Melissa’s blog Urban Gets Diesel before she and Dallas started Whole9 – she is one of my ‘blog-idols’ as her writing is intelligent, sassy and incredibly witty – so I was pretty excited to meet the real deal in person.  

One thing I want to clear up right off the bat…In the words of Derek Zoolander, Dallas and Melissa are ‘really really REALLY good looking’.  The dictionary definition of ‘fit and healthy’. I don’t mean to be superficial, but I felt the need to state that point.  They are also really down-to-earth, incredibly friendly and generously offered me their time to provide me with valuable advice on my own career path and goals.

I’m not going to talk about the content of their seminar because you can see a rundown on their website.  I’m also not going to talk about the trainer workshop, which was a whole other experience of awesomeness.  I want to use this post to tell you why you should go to one of their Whole9 workshops.  In 3 words, here is what they do best: Keep it simple!  

If you’ve not had the opportunity to attend any of the nutrition seminars going around the crossfit universe, then you should make a point of going to this one first.  It’s a fantastic overview and introduction to the concepts behind why certain foods make you healthy, while others are damaging to your health.  They also spend a great deal of time showing you how to PRACTICALLY implement it into your life without depriving yourself or requiring you to own an electronic scale and accounting calculator.  Dallas and Melissa do an amazing job of taking what are complicated concepts and making them simple and easy to grasp. Your brain won’t swell up by overloading it with words you can’t spell and you WILL NOT have horrifying reminders of why you dropped science after grade 9 (freshman year for all you Americans).    I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their health or help others in their life get healthier.  You don’t need to be in crossfit or even know what crossfit it.  This is for ANYONE and EVERYONE.  

This is why I’d recommend it to people who already know their stuff: I’ve been to Mat Lalonde’s seminar and Robb Wolf’s seminar (which are both amazing) and have read a plethora of nutrition books/articles, so I’m confident with the concepts that Dallas and Melissa discussed.  But I learned so much about how I take that information and explain it to friends, family and clients in a simple, concise way with no BS.  One of the things I sometimes struggle with is trying to explain why I don’t consume dairy/grains without using words like ‘casien’ and ‘lectins’.  You can quickly start sounding like you belong to a cult much like scientology when you talk to normal people this way.  Dallas and Melissa gave us so many simple explanations and analogies that I can now use to explain these concepts to people like my mom or even new clients at the gym.  If you want to be able to promote why Paleo/Primal principles are the best for your health, then you need to go to this seminar.    

I’m seriously fired up about taking what I have learned and sharing it with the people in my life and future clients.  It’s inspired me to work on some of my own analogies and a “paleo elevator pitch” (stay tuned for that).  I’m also incredibly grateful for the experience that I had with Dallas and Melissa and the advice that they offered me.  Lastly, I’m also very happy to have been able to hang out with people who are also really really really good looking.

 

excuse the bluriness...i'm trying to not look like a stalker

 

This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Mat Lalonde Nutrition Seminar at Crossfit Academy of Lions.  I will sum up Mat in 3 words: thorough, passionate and cool.  He is a nutrition genius who knows his stuff inside and out.  He is able to take what is super technical and make it relevant and translatable to non-science peep’s (like me!) – with a bit of humour and 1 cute dimple (i couldn’t resist…as Robb Wolf says, “the ladies will be throwing their panties at him”).   Mat said that he would be happy if everyone walked out with 10% of the information that he gave – I hopefully took away much more than that.  Here is a brief run-down of what I learned from this seminar:

Big Words: like polysaccharides, postprandial, carnitine and epidemiological.  Mat said he was amazing at Scrabble and you can see why.  When you have a repertoire of words like these, you would always win.  Prior to the seminar my nutrition lingo was limited to things like macronutrient, insulin, glucagon and gluconeogenesis (thanks to Mr Wolf for that one)….now I’ve got way more fun words to drop!  In all seriousness, I got a thorough learning of the words beyond carbs, hormones, fats which will helped me to further understand the inner mechanics of the body and what really happens when you eat that piece of cake.  

Good Science vs Bad Science: When Mat said that he had to go deep into the bowels of the Havard Library to get some of his references, he is not kidding.  (I picture it being like the opening scene in Ghostbusters).  Mat presented a plethora of studies and scientific articles – he actually shows each study and highlights the important points – and you get an understanding of how to read these types of articles and what to look for to determine their validity and approach.  One of the cool new big words I learned was Epidemological: it’s the study of factors effecting people and illnesses.  It’s also a flawed way of deriving causes of obesity.  Epidemological studies identify a correlation between 2 variables – we see these studies in the media all the time.  For example (and I’m not joking), there was a study that came out recently that said “Children who eat 3 or more burgers a week are more likely to be obese.” What they found was a correlation, not a cause.  What your average-joe might take away from this is that burgers cause obesity, which is not necessarily true.  A HUGE proportion of studies released to the not-too-smart masses these days are based on correlations, bad funding (always read the fine print to see who is funding the study!) and poor scientific experimental design.  Hence, we end up with recommendations like ‘eat more fiber!’ and ‘don’t eat red meat!’ I now have a better idea of how to read studies and determine whether it’s good science looking for the truth or bad science looking to support a hidden agenda.

The ins & outs of Fructose, Linoleic Acid and Saponin: We covered a great amount of detail on Fructose, Linoleic Acid and Saponin which was eye-opening because I learned a lot of new material on how the body processes these and their detrimental effects.  I’m not going to go into detail on these, so i highly encourage you to research these further on your own.  I will point out a couple things: Unlike Glucose, Fructose doesn’t spike your insulin.  BUT when too much fructose enters the liver, the liver can’t process it all fast enough for the body to use as sugar. Instead, it starts making fats from the fructose and sending them off into the bloodstream as triglycerides. Fructose can cause damage to the body and brain via a process known as glycation which can literally age you (google AGE). In some situations (like when you’re doing athletics) fructose is good because it can fill up your liver glycogen stores.  However, on an everyday basis you want to limit Fructose consumption.  Mat compared chronic fructose consumption to chronic boozing showing that a similar level of damage can be done to the body and mind with prolonged usage.  Linoleic acid is found in PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fats) and has elevated levels in fats such as sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil – this stuff is bad! Mat compared it to free radicals entering your body and it can wreak havoc on your liver.  Finally, Saponin increases gut permeability which can contribute to leaky-gut – it’s found in things like the skin of potatoes (peel those babies!), soybeans, certain nightshades and other foods.

What to eat:  Mat doesn’t preach a Paleo or Primal or Caveman diet.  He eats foods that your body needs based on scientific truth and evidence.  It happens to align fairly close to the Paleo/Primal approach, yet is slightly different.  In a nutshell, eat Meat, Fish, Fowl, Eggs, Veggies, Tubers/Roots/Bulbs (they’re mostly glucose not fructose….YEA!), Animal Fat (mmmmmm), Lard, Tallow, Ghee, Avocados and Coconut.  Limit nuts, seeds and fruit – this is due to the fructose in fruit and linoleic acid in certain nuts/seeds.  Berries are your best source of fruit.  Cashews, macadamia nuts and a little bit of almonds are your best choices.  Olive oil is OK.  Cooking with coconut oil or animal fat/lard is best.  Quality meat is key – choose grass-fed beef, pastured pork or chicken and wild fish (News flash: You can order grass-fed beef and other harder to find Paleo foods from Crossfit Academy of Lions in Toronto).  Quality becomes even more important when you’re eating the animal fat.  Slow-cook or grill your meat with a marinade rich in antioxidant spices (like rosemary).  High-heat cooking promotes risk factors for cardiovascular disease.   Make sure your training, sleep and stress are in-check.  Vitamin D3 (4-5,000 IU in a liquid cap or liquid), Fish Oil (2-3g/day and maybe none if you’re sticking to the recommended foods including quality meat and fish), Magnesium (300mg-2g/day).  I also learned that Kelp is a good source of Iodine (yay for kelp noodles!).  Lastly, Mat considers Dairy a grey area with not enough scientific evidence to support it one way or the other.

There was SO MUCH MORE covered in Mat’s seminar and I’m not even scratching the surface with this post.  I would highly encourage you to attend one of his seminars – he did a webinar presentation for people who wanted to attend remotely.  He is truly a genius and I feel so lucky that I was able to attend and meet him this past weekend.  It has enriched my knowledge of nutrition immensely and I excited to begin applying to it my life and others.

I would say that if you can’t attend one of Mat’s seminars and want some of the learnings that come out of his seminar, read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes which gives a detailed history of nutrition science and the studies that shaped the various diet movements over the past century and their flaws.  Also, Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas which I think gives similar food/diet recommendations as Mat (he suggested this one too) – I’ve said before that this is my favourite paleo/primal book!  Mat also recommended Robb Wolf’s book that is coming out in the Fall, The Paleolithic Solution.  Lastly, Mat also suggested The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson (which I also love!).

Every year I completely fall off the wagon at Christmas.  It’s probably an understatement to say ‘fall off the wagon’ – it’s more like I turn into a competitive binge eater, a champion competitive binge eater.  It’s really easy to say, “well it’s that time of year” or “this is the one time I go all out and eat whatever I want”.  I used to say this too – but I realize that as I get older, the Christmas blubber that once would come off in 2 week sticks to me like duct tape and takes months to go away.  The worst part is that my performance at the gym suffers for a few weeks post binge(s) – I lose my pull-ups, I squat less weight and this impacts my motivation.  That is NOT COOL and I won’t repeat that this year.  I have 3 consecutive Turkey Dinners to attend this year and things can get out of control quickly if I don’t have a strategy in place.  There will be a dessert buffet at each one of these meals with homemade tasty goodness and this is usually where I spiral out of control.  In order to completely scare myself from eating all that garbage and hopefully others, I decided to calculate the caloric content in a typical Christmas Dinner and share it with you so that you can think about whether it is worth it to try every single dessert or have that extra heaping of mashed potatoes.   Brace yourself…this is ugly:

This is based on 1 huge Christmas Dinner including appetizers, chocolate (a piece here or there), wine and in this case I’ve included 3 pieces of pie.  Yes, that’s what I ate last year.  I’ll break it down by each food so if you’re not as ravenous as me, you can re-calculate it with only 1 piece of pie.  Courtesy of Fitday.com:

GAH! 4,200 Calories!! That's not including any other meals that you might eat that day.

 

Here is the breakdown by each food:

400 grams of Carbs?!?!?!

Alright, so I went overboard on the desserts.  But I’m not lying when I tell you this is a pretty realistic depiction of what I’m capable of eating at one dinner.    I hope that by seeing this breakdown you can come up with a plan to make good choices so that your caloric content won’t tip the scale at >4,000.  It only takes 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound, so if you’re like me and having 3 Christmas dinners, it is easy to see how you can gain 5 pounds over the holidays.  

Here is a meal that I have modified to remove some of the worst offenders.  I don’t believe you should totally deprive yourself so this is not Paleo.  This includes dessert (only 1):

Cut your calorie consumption by more than half by removing Crackers, Cheese, Chocolate, Gingerbread Cookies, Ice Cream and limiting portions of Dessert, Wine and other Unfavourable Carbs

 

This is not a perfect meal plan, but it is considerably better than the former meal plan and you will still get a generous taste of some of the goodies.  My other suggestions for a healthier holiday dinner are:

  • Insist on bringing a dish to the dinner.  Bring a steamed vegetable, sweet potatoes or even a Primal dessert such as Primal Gingerbread Cookies
  • Look online for Paleo or Primal Christmas dinner suggestions.  Search on “Primal Thanksgiving” and you’ll find many suggestions including several from the website Mark’s Daily Apple where participants in his Primal Challenge posted what they ate over the other Turkey holiday.
  • Make sure you get your workouts in.  Even if that means taking 15 minutes before you shower to go for a quick run or do 100 burpee’s – it will make you less inclined to pig out.
  • If you’re having dinner at your parent’s house  – ask them to set aside a portion of the vegetable dish aside before they add the butter, cheese or cream.  Thank you Mom and Mom 2!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!